Pune Is Definitely A Destination For Designers- Ashish Deshpande



Today is The World Industrial Design Day; the day to commemorate excellence in design and perhaps, ponder upon the futility of our lives without ingenious design.

Ace Industrial Designer Ashish Deshpande, President at Association of Designers of India (ADI), talks to us sharing some insight on the future of industrial design in India.

Ashish Deshpande

How has India’s design scene evolved in recent years?

In the last few years, production and economic development have progressed quite positively. India is trying to establish itself as a business powerhouse. This mandates that production services presented by us are well designed in terms of quality, utility and relevance. Businesses in both the public and private sector have focused on quality. Since, design forms a very important part of quality; this is one major change.


Secondly, Make-in-India has given manufacturing a great impetus. The advent of Make-in-India saw the government being quite sensitive to design.

The Industrial Design Act was introduced under the IPR protection, it was followed by the formulation of the National Design Policy. India’s Design Council also established the India Design Mark (IMark) to qualifying products in terms of design.

The past decade has seen the government take a lot of such proactive initiatives in the field of industrial design, which is very heartening. Today things have progressed leaps and bounds with tools and policies in place to promote industrial design.


We have a huge rural base of individuals with agricultural and artisanal skills. There’s a large diversity in technical know-how, tools, materials and experiences. Yet we’ve been adopting a western, industrialised model of development. How do you propose we build on people’s existing knowledge to trigger inspired design?

True, there are certain sectors where we must drive the focus of design. Agriculture is where we need better tools and better design practices to improve the output as well as the quality of the yield. However, I wouldn’t stop at agriculture.

We also have problems in energy with we have a 45% shortfall. Devices that create and conserve energy are a need of the hour! Healthcare is another important sector. A large percentage of our population has unmet healthcare needs. We need cheap and effective solutions focussed on local needs rather than pricier options doled out by healthcare magnates. Design has made and shall continue to make a lot of difference in these areas. Be it in the field of agro-tech, healthcare, sanitation or even education.

Luckily, the Startup initiative has several budding concerns focussing on technology and design that brings utility.

What do you think of the current breed of designers in Pune ?

Back when I did my design education, there were only two institutes of design in the country. One being NID and the other IIT’s design center in Powai.

Today Pune has over five design institutes while the country has over 50. There are more coming up every day!

The demand is ever increasing, yet production sees a shortfall. The industry needs over 10,000 fresh designers per year. So, I see design as a burgeoning profession with unbounded potential for growth. However, the real problem lies in the quality of design teachers. We need to breed stellar teachers just as we breed design students.

One change you would like to implement in the design education in India?

We need a very strong faculty creation program. India has a lot of talented youngsters who look forward to receiving quality design education. So we must draw from the experience of practicing professionals in the country to create a quality faculty development program.

We can’t just mushroom design schools. We need institutions that produce good faculty capable of leading new designers to the future.

Has Pune been able to retain talent when it comes to designers?

Gone are the days when Pune was considered a suburb and people moved to Mumbai. Pune now offers denizens a good lifestyle along with quality education and stellar job opportunities. On the professional front, you get a healthy mix of business, technology and design along with several other professions. This ensures that design thrives.

Besides, the city has a very healthy intellectual and cultural climate. So I see a lot of retention here.

Aditi Balsaver

Aditi Balsaver

A rapacious reader and animal lover, Aditi is a traveler on weekends and a writer at night..
Aditi Balsaver